Kristyl Felix is set to graduate from the Primary Care Physician Assistant (PA) Program this May. Having grown up in a medically underserved area and seeing the language barriers firsthand, she is looking forward to fostering the importance of preventive care to build healthier communities and advancing patient health by providing competent, compassionate health care.

“I have always wanted to pursue a career in medicine where I could have the capability to give back to my community, as well as have the opportunity for lateral mobility,” Felix reflected. “Being a PA offers everything I desire in medicine: to see, treat, and educate patients; increase access to health care; as well as practice in a team to provide optimal patient care.”

Having developed a passion for primary care in diverse populations, Felix was accepted as a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholar upon entry into the program.

“I was in need of a mentorship program where I could communicate with students who had experience being an NHSC scholar,” Felix shared. “It turned out that several of my fellow classmates needed a similar program and therefore I decided to pioneer the USC PA and NHSC Awardees Association. Being the founder of this association has been a very rewarding experience.”

Felix created the association in February 2017 and it has successfully grown as the interest in serving the underserved by providing primary care fits with the mission of the PA Program at the Keck School. Events sponsored by the association bring in alumni who are NHSC members, so they can share their journey and provide insight to current students and prospective applicants about the programs for scholarship or loan repayment.

Felix has made every moment count while at USC. She has participated in Student Run Clinic as the research chair, met with members of Congress as a student advocate during the annual Washington, D.C., Advocacy trip and mentored K-12 students in the USC PA Pipeline Program.

“I maintained contact with one of the students, I met in the USC PA Pipeline Program,” Felix said. “After she graduated high school, I have watched her go on to pursue her professional career. It has been one of the most fulfilling experiences to look back on.”

Now, she is ready to begin her career as a PA, where she can continue to learn and grow.

“I have been dreaming of being a PA for a long time and I am very fortunate to finally be living the dream,” Felix shared. “As for my advice to future PAs, build strong, long-lasting relationships with your patients and colleagues, and always remember how blessed and fortunate we are to have the opportunity to change lives.”

by Claire Norman